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- Rights in the Australian health care system
Rights in the Australian health care system
The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights describes your rights when using health care services. The Charter is under review and this information is based on the draft second edition released in January 2019.
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You have a right to receive adequate and timely services and treatment that meet your health care needs. These services will be free if you have a current Medicare card and are treated in a public hospital. You have the right to obtain a second opinion.
You have a right to receive safe, high quality, evidence-based care in an environment that is safe. If you are worried that something has been overlooked, talk with your health care provider. If required, you should receive instructions about how to safely care for yourself at home.
You have a right to have your care needs, preferences and values taken into account, and to be treated with dignity and respect. Services should be free from discrimination, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion and sexual preference.
You have a right to be involved in decisions about your treatment and ongoing care in partnership with your health care team. For example, you have the right to accept or refuse any treatment you are offered, and to decide whether to take part in medical research or participate in the clinical training of junior doctors and other students. If you don’t want to receive care, you can leave a health facility at any time, at your own risk and liability. You have the right to include family members, friends and carers in your decision-making and meetings with doctors.
You have a right to receive all the information you need to be able to give informed consent for treatment. Health care providers should clearly explain the risks, benefits and costs of services, tests and treatment options. You can ask questions if you need more information. You can request free interpreter services if English is not your first language. You have the right to access your health information. If something goes wrong, you should be told about it and what is being done to fix it.
You have a right to give appropriate feedback or make a complaint, and for any concerns to be dealt with fairly and promptly.
You have a right to privacy. Your personal and health information must be kept private and confidential (except in very limited circumstances). This includes discussions you have with health care providers, and your written and online medical records. You have the right to talk to your doctor in a quiet, private room, and to decline visitors, even during hospital visiting hours.
|The Private Patients’ Hospital Charter sets out the rights and responsibilities of private patients in public and private hospitals.|
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Toni Ashmore, Cancer and Ambulatory Services, Canberra Health Services, ACT; Baker McKenzie, Pro Bono Legal Adviser, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Acting Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, South Metropolitan Health Service, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; David Briggs, Consumer; Naomi Catchpole, Social Worker, Metro South Health, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Tarishi Desai, Legal Research Officer, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Kathryn Dwan, Manager, Policy and Research, Health Care Consumers Association, ACT; Hayley Jones, Manager, Treatment and Supportive Care, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Victoria Lear, Cancer Care Coordinator, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Deb Roffe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Michelle Smerdon, National Pro Bono Manager, Cancer Council NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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